Hidden, treacherous, neglected, confused with trivial injuries. Here are, in a few words, what the skin cancer picture looks like, which can go unnoticed for months, especially when it is triggered in areas of the body that we do not constantly monitor.
“Although it is most commonly found on the face, ears and scalp, we still find it on the genital mucosa, which is usually affected by a chronic inflammatory or aging process. There are also spinocellular carcinomas developed under the nail blade or on chronic ulcers such as the ulcer of the calf. Malignant melanoma can also develop on unseen areas of light such as the sole, the interdigital spaces, on the mucous membranes or even in the eyes, ”says dermatologist Mihaela Leventer, one of the specialists who diagnoses hundreds of cancer cases every year.
Often, people who have incipient lesions have behavior that can speed up the development of cancer. Exposure to the sun, sitting in the sun and traumatizing the injuries are frequent mistakes, along with the postponement of the visit to the dermatologist, the only one who can make the correct diagnosis.
“The malignant melanoma looks like a blackish or non-homogeneous brownish spot, whether it is on the back, scalp, lip liner or interdigital space. Sub-nail melanoma usually appears as a pigmented band that affects a part of the nail and flows into the periorginal skin area. Subcutaneous spinocellular carcinoma can mimic a fungus and requires the diagnosis of an experienced eye. Other times, these tumors are relatively recent growths, which grow painless and have a tendency to ulcer, ”says Dr. Leventer, the director of the clinic where skin cancers are successfully treated.
Dermatologists draw attention to another situation, commonly encountered among Romanian patients: self-medication.
“Patients apply various medical or non-medical creams on the skin, convinced that it has nothing to do with them. The most easily applied are cortisone products that initially reduce inflammation and give a false relief, then contribute to the superficial layer thinning and ulceration. Among the paramedical remedies, there is a wide interest in cream with yellows or propolis, responsible for the eczematization of skin lesions. Even the use of cytostatic creams on skin cancers that do not benefit from this type of treatment can complicate the evolution, delaying the acceptance of the curative treatment which is the surgical one ”, warns the doctors.
Under these conditions, the annual visit to the dermatologist can be life-saving. This should not be missed by people who have many moles, but also by all those who have persistent lesions.